Delaware stormwater regulation bill signed into law

DOVER — Gov. Jack Markell on Friday signed a bill revamping the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s stormwater regulations.

Senate Bill 253, passed unanimously by the General Assembly, was intended to address controversy surrounding DNREC’s rules for stormwater-runoff management, which were the subject of a lawsuit.

The bill states DNREC may create new regulations after a public hearing, and it also allows for expedited approval.

“We knew we had major problems,” main sponsor Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, said in a statement. “Projects were being delayed and the costs associated with engineering for the projects were out of control. I met with representatives from DNREC along with homebuilders, engineers and members of the farming community. We were able to come up with a compromise we feel everyone can work with, without compromising the environment.”

The rules, put into place in 2013, were criticized by some builders, homeowners and lawmakers as overly complex and expensive.

“Managing stormwater is a critical component in meeting our water quality goals and for assuring that people and property are protected from flooding in Delaware,” DNREC Secretary David Small said in a statement. “We also have learned over the past two years of implementing the regulations that there are a number of challenges in meeting these standards.

“This legislation continues to put a priority on protection of our water resources through additional, more efficient best management practices, with the goal of lowering the cost of compliance for developers, contractors and landowners. We appreciate the cooperation from all of the stakeholders, the DNREC team and the General Assembly in reaching agreement on the legislation.”

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